Press release

Better enforcement and education to cut road deaths

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New strategic framework for road safety published.

Plans to improve road safety education while taking tough action against the small minority of dangerous drivers were set out by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond today (11 May 2011).

Careless driving will be made a fixed penalty offence to allow the police more effectively to tackle reckless driving that puts other road users in danger, while disqualified drivers face having to take a new test before regaining their licence.

There will also be more educational courses that can be offered in place of a fixed penalty and points in appropriate cases as well as a new post-test qualification for novice drivers, under plans set out in the new ‘Strategic framework for road safety’.

And as new analysis shows, 3,500 deaths and serious injuries could have been prevented in a year if the successes of better local authorities and police forces had been matched across the country. Local people will be given the information they need to have a real say in road safety priorities on their local roads.

Philip Hammond said:

This report marks a sea change in how we tackle road safety in this country. We are determined to differentiate between wilfully reckless drivers and the law abiding majority who sometimes make honest mistakes, or who have allowed their skills to deteriorate.

We will focus relentlessly on cracking down on the really reckless few who are responsible for a disproportionately large number of accidents and deaths on our roads. By allowing the police to focus resources on dealing with these drivers, we can make our roads even safer.

Our vision is to ensure Britain remains a world leader on road safety. We will only do this is if we bring people with us. This means cracking down on the most dangerous drivers without waging war on the law abiding majority.

The new ‘Strategic framework for road safety’ sets out the government’s plans to:

  • make careless driving a fixed penalty offence to allow the police more effectively to tackle the wilfully reckless driving that puts other road users in danger - guidance will ensure that that the circumstances in which a fixed penalty notice is appropriate are clearly defined
  • require offenders to pass a test before they regain their licence after a serious disqualification
  • make greater use of powers to seize vehicles to keep the most dangerous drivers off the roads
  • increase the level of fixed penalty notices for traffic offences from £60 to between £80 and £100 and penalty points - levels have fallen behind those for other fixed penalty offences, which risks trivialising the offences
  • improve enforcement against drink and drug driving, as announced in the response to the ‘North report’ in March
  • increase the use of police-approved educational courses that can be offered in place of fixed penalty notices to encourage safer driving behaviour
  • launch a new post-test qualification for new drivers, including an assessment process to give insurers confidence that it will create safer drivers who can expect to pay lower insurance costs - this will replace the current Pass Plus scheme
  • continue to improve the driving and motorcycling training processes, including introducing film clips into theory test
  • create a new website to allow local people to easily compare the road safety performance of their local area against similar areas, as well as a new portal to help road safety professionals share information - the framework published today also includes maps which show the recent road safety records and improvements of local authorities
  • launch an annual road safety day

The framework also sets out the roles and responsibilities of local authorities, road safety professionals and other stakeholders in improving road safety and the increased freedom that is being given to local authorities in assessing and acting on their own priorities.

The government’s long term vision is to ensure that Britain remains a world leader on road safety and the department will monitor its performance against indicators in a new road safety outcomes framework.

Notes to editors

Maps showing the road safety performance of individual local authorities are included on p27 to 28 of the Strategic framework - these are based on figures published in ‘Reported road casualties Great Britain’. And here is the detailed local authority data

New analysis of these figures, included in the strategy, shows that if lower-performing local authorities were to increase their road safety performance so that their killed or serious injured (KSI) casualty rate per billion vehicle miles for 2007 to 2009 was no higher than for the median (mid point) local authority, we might have expected the number of KSIs to be 14% lower than observed - or around 3,500 fewer KSI casualties per year.

The Department for Transport has also today published summaries of the responses to 2 consultations: the ‘Road safety compliance consultation’ and ‘A safer way’.

The UN has proclaimed 2011 to 2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety with a goal of stabilising and then reducing global road deaths. The launch of the road safety framework has been scheduled to coincide with the launch of this decade of action. The UK is a world leader in road safety and the framework demonstrates our commitment to contribute to the further reduction in road deaths envisaged globally by the UN.

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